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Masterful print series Paysages et intérieurs by Edouard Vuillard

Edouard Vuillard, The Two Sisters-in-Law (Les deux belles-soeurs), 1899
Edouard Vuillard, The Two Sisters-in-Law (Les deux belles-soeurs), 1899

The series of prints will be exhibited together with contemporary interpretations by students from the Rietveld Academie Amsterdam.

A renowned series of prints by Edouard Vuillard will be on display in the Van Gogh Museum from the end of this week until 12 January on the top floor of the exhibition wing in the exhibition From Proof to Perfection: Edouard Vuillard’s Paysages et Intérieurs. This print series, dating from 1899, is a graphic masterpiece thanks to the innovative way in which Vuillard transformed the fleeting impressions from his everyday life into decorative, colourful and above all modern compositions.

At the same time, the artist succeeded in conveying an emotional charge and an intimate atmosphere. The thirteen colour lithographs that form the series will be displayed together with preperatory drawings and trial proofs to reveal insights into the creative process, which took up three years of work.

Besides the series of prints, large panels by students from the Rietveld Academie will also be on display. The students examined Vuillard’s series in detail, immersed themselves in his life story and distilled various elements from the prints, which they then reworkedinto their own designs and printed on large textiles.

Edouard Vuillard’s print series Paysages et intérieurs

The print series Paysages et intérieurs forms an absolute highlight in the oeuvre of the French artist Edouard Vuillard (1868-1940). The thirteen colour lithographs were brought onto the market in 1899 in an edition of 100 by the pioneering art dealer Ambroise Vollard. The series was not a commercial success at the time, however, and it took decades before Paysages et intérieurs was recognized as the true masterpiece it is.

The prints are outstanding in their depiction of the artist’s intimate world. Vuillard took everyday moments from his own life and subsequently simplified them into decorative compositions of lines, patterns and silhouettes. For editor and art dealer Vollard the series of prints was a prestige project that ranked on an equal level with his trade in paintings. For that reason Vuillard, together with the master printer Auguste Clot, constantly made trial proofs until the perfect colour lithographc could be printed. In the exhibition, this journey from proof to perfection can be closely followed through the different sketches and proofs.

Graphic designs by Rietveld Academie students

Students from the Graphic Design department of the Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam studied Vuillard’s life story and print series in depth, and then set to work themselves. They have distilled various elements from the works, such as the patterns of the wallpaper and the dark forms and silhouettes that seem to lead lives of their own, or the unconventional delineation of space. The fact that Vuillard lived together with his mother, who had a tailor’s workshop in her home, inspired the fledgling designers to produce textiles in large formats. These textiles, just as the works by Vuillard, will be on display in the museum until 12 January.

On the evening of 25 October the Rietveld Academie students will evoke the artist’s inner world and awaken the creativity of the museum visitors during a special Vincent on Friday programme.

Major research project launched

The Van Gogh Museum has been awarded a substantial grant by The Paper Project of the Getty Foundation to carry out research into the working process of four Nabis artists (Pierre Bonnard, Maurice Denis, Ker-Xavier Roussel and Edouard Vuillard) in creating their series of lithographs for Ambroise Vollard. This art dealer and publisher ranked these prestige projects on an equal level with his trade in paintings by Paul Cézanne, Paul Gauguin and Vincent van Gogh.

In the coming years each of the four series will subsequently be the centre of a presentation in the museum, and with each presentation a study day will be organized for experts. The research project will ultimately result in a comprehensive academic catalogue.

Other recipients of the Getty grant include the British Museum in London, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.

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